INTRODUCTION TO JUNK FOOD
The coinage of the word ‘JUNK FOOD’ dates back to the 1970s. Then, the definition was confined to the foods made of white flour and sugar. It was often referred to as cheat foods. Over time, the definition transfigured. Now, the meaning of junk food is more perplexing as it is defined by two groups of researchers and health experts differently: one group considers junk foods as those foods that have low nutritional value but has superfluous calories, fats and, salts while the other group explains ‘No food is junk. It is the pattern of eating that matters.’ We may side with any of the opinions above but it is reckoned to bring detrimental effects on health if consumed in an unhealthy manner.
It is often confused with fast foods and street foods. While not all fast foods and street foods are junk, many are. Candies, ice creams, sweetened beverages such as soft drinks, salty snacks like potato chips, fried foods, etcetera are categorized as junk food. Other foods such as pizza, burger, noodles can be considered either junk or healthy, depending on their ingredients and preparation methods.
WIDELY ACCEPTED JUNK FOODS AND THEIR EFFECTS
Also called sugar-sweetened beverages, sugary drinks have gained quite a lot of popularity in recent times. Whether it be welcoming guests, celebrating a party, or quenching intense thirst in summer days, sugary drinks are of prime choice among the population. However, it’s quite surprising to know that consuming a can of such drinks per day can escalate the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 22%. What is even more startling is that consuming the identical quantity of beverage at the same frequency for a year can result in a significant weight gain of 7-8 kgs. To put it another way, it increases the possibility of being obese by 27%. Furthermore, there is also the threat of emerging other health ailments such as heart disease, kidney disease, non-alcoholic liver disease, cavity, and gout if consumed regularly.
When talking about fried foods, the items that make the list is lengthy. But if there are some of them which must be mentioned, then it is French fries, chicken strips, and fried fish. Fried foods have been established as one of the most palatable eateries a short time ago. We can hardly encounter any person who has not eaten fried items or who dislikes them. Although being widely accepted by the consumers, it has got many negative repercussions on health, which they need to understand before devouring them.
Fried foods contain more calories than their non-fried counterparts. Additionally, they are also high in transfat which raises the LDL (also referred to as bad cholesterol) level in the blood. This, in the long run, hampers cardiovascular health and heightens the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A new study shows that the person eating at least one serving of fried food per day had an 8% higher risk of death compared with the one eating no fried foods at all and the death risk surges as the serving soars.
This should not be surprising by now, that eating only one serving of fried chicken per day led to a 12% elevated risk of demise relating to heart problems, and no difference is monitored in case of fried fish. Thus, it can be recapitulated that overindulging in fried items can expand the person’s risk of death from multiple causes.
Loaded with too many sugars and often fats, candy bars or simply chocolates are considered to bring deleterious effects on health if consumed frequently and in large amounts. Having said that, quality makes a difference. While expensive and branded chocolate (dark) is not a problem, economical chocolate made of sugar only is. If we deeply analyze the ingredients of dark chocolates (expensive), it is enriched with cocoa, nuts, fibers, and some minerals, which has proven health benefits. In contrast, low-priced chocolates are only made of saturated fats and sugars, which consequently affects health.
The health effects of candies are cavity, diabetes, weight gain, etcetera.
Cakes and doughnuts
Some people may be astounded by having cakes and doughnuts on this list. The food which they never thought of being unhealthy is more than just unhealthy. Both of these items have immoderate sugar in them which may lead to obesity. What’s more, the margarine and butter used in cakes are sufficient to raise the cholesterol level in blood. Besides, the dyes used in colorful cakes actually may be a problem for some consumers as it may cause digestion related issues and even allergy.
CAN WE COMPLETELY AVOID JUNK FOODS?
Junk food is ubiquitous. It is sold in supermarkets, stores, workplaces, and even the education hubs. The availability, convenience, and accessibility of junk food make it difficult to curb or evade. Many foods that are thought to be healthy is in reality noxious. For instance, canned fruit drinks may provide vitamins and minerals, however, the added sugar causes equal harm.
It is practically just not possible to entirely avoid junk food. Nonetheless, there is always a way out to this. Many nutritionists and dieticians suggest 80:20 principle to their clients in tackling junk food usage. To put it simply, eating healthy and nutritious food for 80% of the time may aid in neutralizing the baleful effects of junk food ingested for 20% of the period.
The next measure is opting for healthier food. To elaborate, as by now, it is vivid that sugary drink is not good for the sake of health. Thus, replacing it with plain water or fresh fruit juices or plain lassi would be a better alternative.
The simple thing that we must know about junk food is that they are unhealthy regardless of their controversial definitions. In today’s world, the junk food industry has monopolized the nutritive food market. Many junk foods are originated from occidental culture, albeit they are popular and widely galloped throughout the planet.
Over the past few decades, people victimized by lifestyle diseases have been increasing at an alarming rate and one of the most prominent contributors to this is the intake of high junk foods. Therefore, consciousness towards food is a requisite to promote health.